Biden: Pope Says I Should Keep Taking Communion

Says pontiff called him a 'good Catholic'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 29, 2021 9:21 AM CDT
Updated Oct 29, 2021 12:06 PM CDT
Biden Reunites With Pope in 'Unusually Long' Meeting
US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are greeted by the Head of the Papal Household, Mons. Leonardo Sapienza, center, as they arrive for a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Update: This file has been updated to include more details on the visit, including the president's comments on communion and abortion.
President Biden said Pope Francis told him Friday that he should continue to receive Communion, as the world's two most prominent Roman Catholics ran overtime in private discussions on climate change, poverty, and the pandemic that also touched on the loss of president's adult son and jokes about aging well. Biden, whose support for abortion rights has has put him at odds with many US bishops, said the issue did not come up in the meeting at the Vatican. “We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving Communion,” Biden said, per the AP.

Some Catholic leaders in the US say the president should not receive Communion because of his support of abortion, notes Politico. After leaving the Vatican, Biden said that he had a “wonderful” visit and that the pope prayed for him and blessed his rosary beads. Asked what the prayer was about, Biden replied, “Peace.” The meeting lasted about 75 minutes, more than double the normal length of an audience with the pontiff. Biden gave Francis a woven chasuble, or liturgical vestment, made in 1930 by the famed papal tailor Gammarelli and used by the pope’s Jesuit order in the US, where it was held in the archives of Holy Trinity Church, Biden’s regular parish in Washington.

Biden also slipped what's known as a challenge coin into the pope's palm during a handshake, and hailed Francis as “the most significant warrior for peace I’ve ever met.” The "tradition is, and I’m only kidding about this, but next time I see you, if you don’t have it, you have to buy the drinks," Biden said, referring to the coin. He added: “I’m the only Irishman you’ve ever met who's never had a drink.” Francis laughed and responded: “The Irish brought whisky.” Biden is visiting Rome and then Glasgow, Scotland, for back-to-back summits, first a gathering for leaders of Group of 20 leading and developing nations and then a global climate conference. (Read more President Biden stories.)

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